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  • Twins Make Statement With Nolasco Signing

    Looking over the front page of the Star Tribune's sports section on Thanksgiving morning, I couldn't help but notice the irony.

    The top story: Pat Reusse's annual "Turkey of the Year" column, in which the longtime scribe called out Terry Ryan as the top goat in Minnesota sports for the past year.

    Just below, also above the fold, was the headline, "Pitcher Nolasco headed to Twins," with a subhead indicating that the pitcher had been signed to a record $49 million deal.

    Reusse's selection was certainly justified when you look at the last year as a whole. Following a disastrous 2012 season in which the starting rotation was a complete mess, Ryan signed only low-end free agents and wound up with a team that showed no improvement.

    By continuing to rely on the same low-strikeout hurlers while the league has trended more and more toward power arms that can miss bats, Ryan has indeed looked at times like the game has passed him by. Or, as Reusse puts it, a "dinosaur."

    The signing of Nolasco is anything but business as usual for Ryan and the Twins. Not only does the total amount shatter the previous franchise benchmark for an external free agent (Josh Willingham's $21 million contract), but the timing of the move is also telling.

    Aside from Jason Vargas, who inked a weird four-year, $32 million deal with the Royals, Nolasco is the first free agent pitcher to sign a long-term contract (three or more years) this offseason. Rather than waiting for the market to develop, as they've pretty much almost done, the Twins went hard after their top target and made him an offer that convinced him he wasn't going to get more money by waiting around.

    Talk about uncharacteristically splashy.

    To be clear, Nolasco is not an elite pitcher. He's not going to single-handedly turn the team around and he's not likely to be the best member of a good staff. There will be plentiful analysis of his strengths and weaknesses here at Twins Daily in the coming weeks.

    But the bottom line, for now, is this: Outside of Matt Garza, Nolasco was arguably the best pitcher available on the market among those who won't require a draft pick or colossal posting fee to sign. Given the club's reluctance to delve into those areas, Nolasco may have been the best realistic option for the Twins. And Ryan got him signed before Thanksgiving.

    There's more work do be done, but for now, with a large segment of the fan base voicing the same dejection toward the front office as Reusse, this is a loud statement that could have hardly come at a better time.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Make Statement With Nolasco Signing started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. DomeDog's Avatar
      DomeDog -
      Good article. I don't think Terry Ryan isn't evil. He's not a cheapskate, well mostly. He is the new scapegoat now that Carl died. Terry Ryan does deals that he feels are worth it. He's not going to make a deal to make the fans feel better. He's going to do a deal because it makes sense with what he has and what he's given and what's out there. I like that we don't overpay for free agents just because. He refuses to accept market value and that's fine with me. I think last year he took what we could afford and what was decent practical value. No it wasn't amazing but for the money, Correia turned out to be one of the better free agent pitchers in '13 numbers wise. And mostly everyone else stole a paycheck.

      A great example of this is the mike pelfrey offer. Twins offered him a contract but for what he's worth, not market value for him. Hence the 3-4 million dollar gap between what he wants and what TR is willing to pay. TR doesn't do market value. And someone with more time than me will prove how not worth it most free agents are for their market value.

      The 2nd upgrade pitcher this offseason will come by trade.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Power Alley on MLB Network Radio.

      I was simply commented on what they said. These are baseball people -it's there job- and they sounded ridiculous trying to sum up the signing. If the Twins paid the going rate, which is what they said, why question the terms of the contract? I'm also not a huge fan of ERA, especially with Nolasco who advanced metrics suggest is better than his ERA shows. He also was a #4 starter last year, sure... on a staff with two Cy Young winners. The way I look at pitchers is if they'd start in a 5-game playoff series and I'd feel good about Nolasco in game 3.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trevor0333 View Post
      I think he was more mocking the (Powertrip?) for the stats they were using to judge the deal. I listen to the show fairly regularly & they aren't bad overall but are terrible when it comes to Baseball. Hawkey is one of the most uninformed sports analyzers I have ever listend too.

      It was a solid B to B+ signing. They got a guy they liked for a very fair deal market wise & did so early in the process.
      Unfortunately Kfan often takes a cynical and less informed approach to baseball. Dubay and Mackie on 1500 do a better job.

      I like this signing a lot. It does not suddenly make the team great but its a nice move in the right direction.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Power Alley on MLB Network Radio.

      The way I look at pitchers is if they'd start in a 5-game playoff series and I'd feel good about Nolasco in game 3.
      I like the Nolasco signing for a number of reasons, but perhaps the fact that I can envision him pitching in a playoff game at all is the thing that heartens me the most. However, I don't know that I would love him as the #3 starter for a playoff team, I prefer him as a #4. Here are the AL playoff pitchers who I would not start Nolasco over:

      Boston - Lester, Bucholz, Lackey

      TB - Price, Cobb, Moore, Archer

      Oak - Colon, Parker

      Det - Scherzer, Verlander, Sanchez, Fister

      Tex - Darvish, Holland, Ogando, Garza

      So based on this very un-scientific look, I would say that Nolasco does not make the playoff rotation for 3 of the 5 AL playoff teams last year, serves as the #4 for Boston (who did win the WS), and the #3 on the overachieving A's team.

      Asking Nolasco to be a #3 on a playoff rotation seems a bit of a stretch.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by DomeDog View Post
      Good article. I don't think Terry Ryan isn't evil.

      That isn't not a double-negative.


      (I actually agree with your take wholeheartedly!)
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trevor0333 View Post
      I think he was more mocking the (Powertrip?) for the stats they were using to judge the deal. I listen to the show fairly regularly & they aren't bad overall but are terrible when it comes to Baseball. Hawkey is one of the most uninformed sports analyzers I have ever listend too.

      It was a solid B to B+ signing. They got a guy they liked for a very fair deal market wise & did so early in the process.
      And my point was Ricky is a #3 or #4 type pitcher
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      The Twins did make a statement with the Nolasco signing--and it is a positive statement. No, he won't turn the team into a .500 team (all by himself) but this is a start. Last season's rotation contained only one Major League pitcher (and a rather ordinary one at that). Three more are needed. No, I don't think all will be "on board" for 2014, but, this is a start.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Power Alley on MLB Network Radio.

      I was simply commented on what they said. These are baseball people -it's there job- and they sounded ridiculous trying to sum up the signing. If the Twins paid the going rate, which is what they said, why question the terms of the contract? I'm also not a huge fan of ERA, especially with Nolasco who advanced metrics suggest is better than his ERA shows. He also was a #4 starter last year, sure... on a staff with two Cy Young winners. The way I look at pitchers is if they'd start in a 5-game playoff series and I'd feel good about Nolasco in game 3.
      Sorry Me bad, We dont get that radio station down here near Mazatlan
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